Type of Waste recycled:Tetrapak cartons (packaging material for storing perishable items)

Timeline of initiative: Ongoing

Key Players/Stakeholders: This is a partnership in Gujarat between Amul (Indian food and dairy major), Tetra Pak (Company generating Tetra Pack packaging material), SEWA (an NGO engaged in women welfare activities) and Daman Ganga Board Mills (a paper mill involved in production of paper products)

About the Initiative: Previously, all post-consumer use Tetra Pak cartons were sent to dumping sites along with other non-recyclable materials. However, under this current partnership, marginalized women workers (from SEWA) are currently engaged in collection, sorting and primary processing of consumed and discarded Tetra Pak cartons from about 42 Amul dairy parlours. The collected waste is segregated, washed and bundled before being sent to the Daman Ganga paper mill for recycling. The processed material yields paper pulp (about 75%) and balance of aluminum + plastic aggregate (25%).

Daman Ganga Mills uses the waste material to manufacture a) Indoor use furniture and material such as roofing sheets for the construction industry: Shredded Tetrapak and plastic material are dried and cleaned and spread between two polythene sheets and laid on a hot press bed. Once the sheets emerge from the press, they are given a wave-form shape and left to dry. These Tuff Roof sheets are waterproof, rustproof, and absorb much less heat – and are better than conventional fibrocement and corrugated G.l. sheets. b) Recycled Tissue Paper: The tissue paper created uses only 1/3rd of the electrical energy and very low water resources compared to virgin tissue. The grade is truly “Natural” as it is not bleached and also no dyes or chemicals are used during production.

Challenges: While this model has been successfully implemented in Gujarat, the key challenge mainly lies in the scaling up this model nationwide –the success of the model is hugely dependent on finding the right partners, recyclers with appropriate technologies and high level of consumer awareness (to ensure segregation at source).

Market Potential: In 2013, 36,000 tonnes of Tetrapak cartons were sold in India18. This presents a high market potential for recycling to recover materials which would otherwise be lost to landfills. The Tetrpak recycling model has now also been replicated in Mumbai through partnership with an authorized recycler. About 4,000 tonnes of cartons were sold in Bangalore alone and about 10% of these cartons were recycled by an NGO (Saahas).